Supermarket reaction to the Easter Sunday trading law has been mixed after the controversial legislation passed last week.

Foodstuffs New Zealand, which operates New World, Pak'n Save and Four Square, said it welcomed the law change allowing shops to trade on Easter Sunday, where permitted by local councils.

Head of external relations Antoinette Laird said Foodstuffs viewed the change as a good one.

"It has been our longstanding view that stores should have the choice to be able to serve their communities on Easter Sunday, and while we would have preferred national legislation allowing it, we are happy to work with the framework of local decision-making," Laird said.

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"We expect not all our owner-operators will want to trade on Easter Sunday, and that is their choice. Likewise, those who do will be expected to strictly adhere to the new law's protections for staff who elect not to work that day."

Laird said the company was encouraging local councils to start consulting their communities about the law changes and where there was support, hoped it would be permitted.

The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill allowing councils to pass bylaws to allow trading on Easter Sunday passed its third and final reading by 62 to 59 personal votes last week amidst heated debate.

As a national retailer we advocate for regulations that foster a level playing field for competition and are applied consistently across the country.

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While Foodstuffs openly welcomed the move, competitor Progressive Enterprises, which operates Countdown, was more reserved.

"As a national retailer we advocate for regulations that foster a level playing field for competition and are applied consistently across the country," said Progressive spokesperson James Walker.

"We are considering what this new law means for our business and whether Countdown stores will open, depending on local Council decisions. If we do open on Easter Sunday, Countdown teams will be given a genuine opportunity to decide whether they wish to work."

ROTORUA DAILY POST
26 Aug, 2016 5:05pm
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In its submission on the changes, Retail NZ supported trading on Easter Sunday, but said leaving the decision to councils could result in 67 local authorities having 67 sets of rules.

The lobby group was particularly concerned that councils would be able to make rules for all or part of their district.